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Maceio History, Brazil

Maceió is the third largest city in Brazil and the largest in the coastal state of Alagoas. It is also the capital of Alagoas.

According to available records, the first settlers established the Maceió village on December 5, 1815. The initial development came from an ancient sugar mill and the sugar plantation around the mill. The village also served as a small port for the ships that arrived to load wood from the bay of Jaragua. The installation of more sugar mills ushered in the export of sugar, followed by the export of tobacco, leather, coconut, and a few varieties of spices. 

Maceió grows to become state capital 

The Port of Jaragua and the exports from the ports went on growing. Very soon, the economic prosperity of the city overtook that of Marechal Deodoro, the then capital of Alagoas state. The development of Maceió severely affected the affluence of Marechal Deodoro to such an extent that Marechal Deodoro had been reduced today to a small fishing town of poor inhabitants and several old buildings that remind us its more glorious days. Maceió developed as a major city and was made the capital of the province of Alagoas on December 9, 1839. 

The changing face of Maceió 

Maceió’s old city center and the Jaragua port neighborhood still preserve a few old buildings that are the reminders of the sugar era. However, most of the old structures had been converted to dance clubs and bars. The port area had become one of the hot night spots of Maceió. The development of the city came at a cost. Maceió had three major beaches, including the most favorite one, known as Jatiuca. All the three beaches were completely lost due to pollution from the growing industrial development. The fourth beach, Pajucara, was saved in time by the urban planners of the city. Today, Pajucara is one of the major tourist attractions in Maceió. 

Gogo da Ema

 Gogo da Ema was a palm tree in Maceió that was famous throughout northeastern Brazil and was part of the music and folklore art in that area. The tree had a crooked trunk that looked like a cured ‘N’ letter in shape. The tree fell down on July 27, 1955. However, the love of the people for that tree made it a cultural and tourism symbol for Maceió. The local residents even named a beach after that tree. 

Mixed ethnicity 

The development Maceió over the last two centuries was influenced by several ethnic groups. The Portuguese descendants were the earliest settlers and they are the majority ethnic group today. However, the Spanish, French, English, and Italian descendants had also mixed into the city stream. Even thought the official language in Maceió is Portuguese, Spanish and English are also taught in the schools as additional languages. The arts and crafts of the city, the customs, the cuisine, and the building structures are a confluence of the influence of all these ethnic groups.

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